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Hello and welcome once again to another exciting update on the Sicilian defence!

Download PGN of November '13 Open Sicilian games

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The Grivas Sicilian 4...Qb6 [B33]

We start off the November update by looking at an opening that I myself tried for the first time recently, the Grivas defence.

In the game Rodshtein, M - Landa, K play proceeded along normal theoretical paths, until White tried a commonsense approach with the move 14.g3!?:

This move has also been played by the American Ray Robson, but in that game Robson misplayed it and quickly came under a strong attack (see Richard's annotations in the PGN Archive). However, with logical play Rodshtein demonstrated here that Black has some serious problems to solve from this position. Clearly the ball is very much in Black's court in the Grivas.

The Taimanov with ...a6, 9 Qf3!? [B46]

The next game we look at is Inarkiev, E - Vitiugov, N where White came very close to losing. The critical position seems to arise after 11...Kf8:

Black has lost his castling rights but retains a formidable defensive barrier against anything White may attempt, plus he can also gain interesting counterplay with the typical ...h5!? etc.

In the game White tried 12.Na4, but this didn't work out very well and he soon ended up in trouble, so perhaps White players will revert to the more typical 12.Re1. In any case the position is clearly rich in possibilities for both sides, and I very much doubt this is the last we've seen of this variation.

The Taimanov 5...Qc7 6 f4 [B47]

Nepomniachtchi, I - Vitiugov, N was a real old-fashioned slug-fest. The players debated the merits of the 6.f4 Tiamanov, and the following position was reached after 14...Rac8:

As I comment in the notes, although Black is objectively ok here, it's easier to play with White as he can just hack away on the kingside with these far-advanced pawns. Black has to be very accurate with how he plays it and failed to do so in the game, and fell under a huge attack.

The English Attack v Taimanov [B48]

Dominguez Perez, L - Caruana, F was another Taimanov. As befitting two of the strongest and most active players in the world, they debated one of the hottest lines. Dominguez struck with the novelty 14.Bxb5!?:

But this doesn't seem to offer more than a draw for White, and the players soon repeated. In fact it was probably Caruana who should have looked for ways to carry on, as he needed to win the game to qualify for the candidates, but purely from a chess point of view Black has no reasons to decline a draw here.

Caruana, F - Svidler, P was another English Attack, but this time featuring the alternative capture on move 11, 11.Bxd4:

Black later missing a golden chance in the endgame.

The Najdorf 6 Be3 e5 7 Nb3 Be7, 10...a5 [B90]

I got a chance to show off my own attacking skills in the game Ledger, D - Gormally, D, where I tried the line 10..a5!:

As I point out in the notes, purely on stats Black scores very well here. I think this may be the psychological effect that White already has to go on the defensive. In any case I soon opened lines, and after 13...b5!:

It was back to the good old Gormallizer. Real caveman stuff.

6 Bg5: 7...Be7 Main line, 10 g4 h6 [B99]

The penultimate game I would like to look at is Ortiz Suarez,I-Hernandez Carmenates,H where the extremely sharp line with 12.e5!? is debated:

Here 12...gxh4 is discussed, while the alternative 12...dxe5 is seen in Perez Rodriguez,L-Quesada Perez,Y

Funnily enough this line seems extremely popular amongst Latino players. As I demonstrate in the notes, this line seems extremely dangerous for Black and will surely suit those White players who depend heavily on home analysis.

Loyal subscriber Doug Schwetke requested that I take a look at this line, and as usual a subscriber's wish is my command! Any more suggestions of openings you would like me to look at are more than welcome.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed this month's update and I greatly look forward to the next month's - hopefully there will even be some games from the World championship, and not the usual Berlin Walls they bore us with! Danny.

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